Holy Week

Holy Week With Jesus: Reflections and Resources

Hello friends! I hope that your walk through Holy Week with Jesus has been rewarding. I thought it would be helpful to collect some resources for #HolyWeekWithJesus in one place. So, here, on this page, is everything you'll need to finish out the week.

I've included the free printable Holy Week reading guide, a Spotify playlist full of Easter songs, and short reflections on each day of readings. I've selected a key verse from each day's reading and created a simple graphic that you can share on social media if you want. You can find those on the daily reflection pages, linked below. Also, the other day, I came across some really helpful videos from The Gospel Coalition about each day of Holy Week, so I've included those on each day's reflection as well.

I'll update this list each morning for the rest of the week with new reflections for the day. May the Lord draw you ever nearer to him as Easter Sunday approaches.

A Simple Bible Reading Plan for Holy Week

Can you believe that Easter is just over a week away?? Even though I've been anticipating its arrival for weeks, it's hard to believe that it's finally here. I'm so excited! Seriously, Easter is my absolute favorite time of the church year. I love the songs. The pomp. The circumstance. The sheer joy of the resurrection.

But before we can celebrate the resurrection, we have to remember the death. 

Apart from celebrating Christmas and Easter, the church I grew up in didn't really pay much heed to the church calendar. But I need to walk through and reflect on the events of Holy Week. I need to experience the jubilation of Palm Sunday and the rising unrest that followed on Holy Monday and Tuesday. I need to feel the shock of the betrayal on Spy Wednesday and the horror of the arrest on Maundy Thursday. I need to remember the awful reality of the death on Good Friday and the grief that set in on that Holy Sabbath Saturday. And then, maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to really celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday.

And so this year, to help prepare my heart for Easter Sunday, I've worked out a simple Bible reading plan for Holy Week. Each day, starting on Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Sunday, I'll read the corresponding day's events in the Gospel of Luke, as well as a supporting passage from the Old Testament. 

I'd love for you to join me! I've included the entire plan below, but I've also created a little printable that you can tuck into your Bible and use throughout the week. Scroll all the way to the bottom of this post and click on the "download" icon to access the printable, and be sure to drop me a line if you're using the guide! 

Holy Week With Jesus

a simple and free Holy Week Bible Reading Guide

Using This Guide

I hope you find this brief timeline of events helpful as you move through Holy Week with Jesus. If you're reading with me, leave a comment and let me know, or use #HolyWeekWithJesus on social media so we can encourage one another!

Begin each day with a prayer for understanding and clarity. Ask the Lord to reveal himself to you through your reading. Next, read the appropriate scriptures slowly. Take a few minutes to process what you’ve read. Reflect on what it teaches you about the character of God as revealed through Jesus Christ. What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? Reflect on your reading throughout the day. Let it seep into your soul and transform you from the inside out. 


Palm Sunday

On Palm Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem with his disciples riding a borrowed donkey. He arrived to much celebration, but it was the beginning of the end of his human life.


Holy Monday

On Holy Monday, Jesus asserted his authority by throwing out anyone and everyone who was doing business inside the temple complex. The Jewish leaders were less than impressed with the display of power.


Holy Tuesday

On Holy Tuesday, temple leaders challenged Jesus by putting him to the test. Literally. They raised a number of theological debates with him and questioned both his teaching and his God-given authority.


Spy Wednesday

On Spy Wednesday, Jesus continued his teaching, which only riled up Jewish leaders. The tipping point came when a woman honored Jesus by anointing him with really expensive oil. This didn't sit well with Judas, who went straight to the religious authorities and offered to deliver Jesus into their hands.


Maundy Thursday

On Maundy Thursday, after celebrating the Passover with his disciples, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, where Judas betrayed him. He was arrested and tortured while Peter denied him.


Good Friday

On Good Friday, the Jewish leaders, with the help of Pilate, subjected Jesus to a mock trial that resulted in a death sentence for the one who would be called the King of the Jews. He was hastily crucified and quickly buried before the Sabbath began that evening.


Holy Saturday

On Holy Saturday, not much happened...that we know of, at least. Since it was the Jewish Sabbath, all activity came to a grinding halt, and Jesus' followers had to wait until the next day to properly prepare his body for burial.


Easter Sunday

On Easter Sunday, a couple of women went to Jesus' tomb to anoint him for burial, but when they arrived, he wasn't there. The tomb was empty, and an angel greeted them with the news that Jesus was alive. The women hurried back to tell the others, and Jesus surprised his grieving disciples by showing up in their midst.

Even Baptists Need Holy Week

Even Baptists Need Holy Week, Reflections on liturgy via leslieannjones.com

Sometimes I wish I came from a more liturgical tradition.  The kind that allows the church calendar to dictate the rhythms of life and set the tone for worship.  Our church usually does a pretty good job of at least changing the fabric draped over the cross in the baptistry, but for some reason, Ash Wednesday came and went without a change in color.  Our cross still sports the bright red and gold colors of Christmas.  We'll celebrate Easter on Sunday, and I know for a fact that the cross will be arrayed in shimmering white, but I have really missed the purple cloth of Lent this year.

I grew up in traditional Southern Baptist churches, and I never knew that there were entire seasons built around Christmas and Easter.  I didn't know what Advent was until my grandmother died and we began celebrating Christmas at my aunt and uncle's house.  They, being good Episcopalians, place an Advent wreath in the middle of their dining table and light the candles throughout the season.  The wreath fascinated me, and from that moment on, I was intrigued by this other world of rich traditions that I knew nothing about.  As a teenager, most of my friends were Catholic, and their observance (or lack thereof) of Lent always grabbed my attention.  We Baptists didn't give up anything for Lent, and I really didn't see how abstaining from chocolate or Coke would have any affect on God at all.

Things have changed a bit since then, and I've come to appreciate and long for liturgical traditions.  The first year we were married, I dragged my husband to an Ash Wednesday service at the local Episcopal church.  The whole thing really weirded him out, but I loved it.  I felt connected to something larger than myself, and that year, I gave up blogging and social networking for Lent.  We light Advent candles at Christmas and read selected passages of Scripture together to help us remember and meditate on the season.

But it's a lot of work to do it on our own.  Sometimes I'm so caught up in myself that I forget to consider the season.  I'm ashamed to admit that Easter has taken me by surprise this year.  I don't feel prepared for Sunday morning.  I need the church to remind me of the season.  I need the purple cloth of Lent to turn my eyes toward the road to Jerusalem, and I need waving palm branches to center me at the onset of Holy Week.  Tomorrow is Maundy Thursday, and although we won't observe it in our church, I know that I need to feel the horror of Jesus' arrest and the trauma of his death on that Friday we call Good.  If I don't stop to feel the betrayal and grieve the death, I won't understand or appreciate the resurrection life we commemorate on Easter Sunday.

It's only through the death of Jesus that we can experience the resurrection.  His death was real, tragic, and painful.  I need to dwell on those things before I can celebrate and appreciate Easter Sunday because, as the prophet Isaiah wrote, "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned - every one - to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:4-6).